Happy Monday!

Black Sesame Ice CreamBlack Sesame Ice Cream, anyone? Yum. 

Well, I missed my weekly Weekending post, so here’s a Happy Monday for you all. In the midst of being a bit overwhelmed with work/life balance (what’s new, right), I have been slowly and surely finding my way to a more simplified way of life, it’s on my mind a lot lately. After accepting too many gigs here and there that have left me exhausted and feeling like I rarely my family, I have decided to study and learn the art of the graceful decline. The problem is- I’m a city girl with a built-in hustle. You can take the girl out of the city but…, well you know. I need to learn to shake the hustle off because the truth is, since having my kiddos, I don’t love the hustle like I used to. I’m actually starting to hate it. I’m in the fortunate position of not having to work full time, but I do work part-time. It’s a constant balancing act of figuring out just how much is enough- financially, logistically and emotionally. You want to do what you love but you also want to be with those you love- the ongoing conundrum.

Whew. I’m exhausted just writing that but it’s Monday morning, it’s a new week and it felt apropos to do so. If you, dear readers, have any advice- please send some my way.

In the Meantime:

What I’m Sipping: Cue the Angels, Go on the Spotlight- AHHHHHH! (read in Soprano)- it’s officially Rosé season folks. Truth be told, I drink the pink nectar of the Gods year round, but spring feels especially ripe to start popping the tops on the pink stuff. Here’s my all-time favorite, it’s a pretty penny and a bit more than I’d like to spend for a Tuesday night wine, but the beginning of a season only comes once a year, so what the hell- Tempier Bandol Rosé it is. Trust me, one sip of this stuff and you will totally get it- it is such a special wine. Maybe I’ll get really motivated and make a proper Bouillabaisse- the perfect pairing for this wine that boasts bright fruit, hints of dark chocolate and tangy spice- a most delicious and unique rosé from a most royal family in wine (The Peyraud/Tempier family has supplied Alice Waters’ go-to juice at Chez Panisse for decades and is responsible for getting their local Bandol grape officially classified in France. More on this stellar family here. P.S.: Lulu Peyraud is a personal hero, she is 90+ and takes a daily swim in the Meditteranean every morning, her cookbook is one of my favorites too.

In Other News: 

I got a kick out of this. Noel Gallagher on Beyoncé, “artistry”, how Apple is ruining youth culture, being a pussy, and much much more.

“25 Expressions You Should Have in Your Vocabulary”. I don’t know about everyday use- unless you don’t mind ostracizing yourself from society at the risk of sounding like you are speaking in tongues- but these are some pretty cool words.

GAP is still having that crazy ass sale at 40% off. Use Code: HOP

Tuscany’s Villa Lena looks pretty dreamy.

Mackenzie Horan’s NYC guide, if you’re due for a trip anytime soon. Good stuff here including some of my favorites- Palma, Rosemary’s, Buvette and Cafe Cluny- the stuff of dinner dreams.

How fresh are your eggs? A quick little test to find out.

Mix yourself up a fresh whiff of spring with this yummy maple syrup lemonade.

A day in Point Reyes and Tomales Bay- one of my favorite spots on the planet, this post sent to me by my pal Amy- she and I explored this pretty part of the world last September. My personal favorite stop on the bivalvian blessed coast is Hog’s Island Oyster Co. in Marshall- I wrote about it here.

I’m digging the Finns.

I love this outfit. This chick is just constantly shopping- it’s enviable.

Which led me to these pretty necklaces. A bit pricey for me at the moment, but so cool.

A day in the work life of Ira Glass.

Ahhh- I need to try this app but am a little scared of what it will reveal. Have you tried it?

This wallpaper! Happy-Making.

The Surf Lodge- Montauk. Another one for the list. Let’s get real- anyone that knows me well knows there’s no way in hell I would ever get more than shin-deep in Montauk waters. Hello Carcharadon Carcharius- but I’ll put my toes in and am happy to soak up a little Montauk goodness anytime.

Silver Espadrilles- yep! Just nabbed a pair of these- will wear through September.

Elizabeth Banks solves all your problems in 68 seconds.

Easter Brunching at home? Here’s a few great recipes.

Put that swiss chard to use.

Cin Cin ya’ll. Have an awesome week!

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Happy Weekending!

flip
We had a little taste of summer this past week in Charleston, this photo seemed apropos for the way it made me feel.

Hello good people of the world and Happy Weekend to you. We have just returned from a whirlwind week of Spring Breaking in glorious Charleston- what a gem of a city, I can’t wait to round up my favorite spots. We stayed at the beach so we had the best of both worlds- town and country- we got charming city, crazy good food (I mean, really kind of nuts- full report to come), and long empty beaches with summertime breezes. More on all of that later next week.

What are you all up to this weekend? Spring may finally be peeking its head around the corner for us here in the Mid-Atlantic. At least it’s raining these days and not snowing, it can’t come soon enough.

What I’m Drinking: 

This amazing Loire sparkling wine I discovered at the cuter-than-can-be Charleston coffee and wine shop, The Daily. It’s so crisp and delicious- tasting note to follow, this one’s worth seeking out.

In Other News: 

London opens a bar where you can pet owls- I’m there.

I love these photos of Japanese dancer, Mickael Jou.

Big sale at the Gap. Use code FFBEST for 40% off little numbers like this.

I’m attempting a paleo-esque diet for the next month starting tomorrow. After all of that Charleston goodness, something’s got to give. We’ll see how it goes. This book on baking with natural sugars seems like a step in the right direction.

And speaking of books, I just ordered this one to inspire me to dig a little deeper in my spring clean this year. Spotted on my pal Rashmi’s Insta.

And speaking of tidying up, this cleaning guru shares her secrets for a tidy home.

Green fondue for St. Paddy’s Day? Maybe. This white chocolate matcha mix doesn’t quite jive with my paleo ambitions, but it sure looks fun (and yummy).

This springy green floral cape just made it to my wish list.

Cafe Clover- on my NYC list. This little West Village spot looks fab.

“This is what happens when you put your phone away for a week.”

This raw kale caesar with beet microgreens and poached egg reminds me of a transcendent salad I just had at Charleston’s The Macintosh- except their’s had tiny little pieces of fried cauliflower- what the what!

This book looks fun. The difference between the Queen’s English and our English.

“The sulfites give me a headache.” Chances are this is probably not the reason you’re getting a headache, so pop the cork on the bottle of red. Thank you Lettie Teague.

These flared high-waisted jeans are rocking my world. Let’s hope this paleo thing works so I can get back to zippers post-bebes.

This documentary looks amazing- Sailing the Sinking Sea.

Bjork and The Secret to a Pop Tune Hit on this week’s Studio 360- I loved this episode.

Cin Cin ya’ll and Happy Weekending!

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Happy Valentines Day!

happy v day

Happy Valentines Day dear readers- I know I know, it’s a Hallmark holiday but I have to admit that I’ve always had a fondness for this lovey dove-ful day. I have such nostalgia (there’s that word again) for the warm and fuzzy memories of opening those little paper Valentines we used to get from classmates at school, and going home with Elmer’s glue-encrusted hands after cutting and gluing those silly doilies to the backs of red construction paper hearts.  This year we made crayon heart necklaces for our classmates and friends. I love paper Valentines but we opted to just melt some crayons, it took some time but we love how they came out.

Yep, St. Valentine’s Day- it’s a good excuse to share some love- true, we should just be sharing such love on a daily basis, but Valentine’s Day for me, is just another reminder. It’s a bright and shiny heart-shaped beacon of light in the doldrums of winter, so I’ll take it. What do you all do for Valentines Day? This year, I think C and I may just go to the movies. We try to do something slightly offbeat and different each year, but this year, we’re a bit overworked (read: tired) and a bit understudied for the Oscars, so we’ll probably just head to the local movie theater to catch Birdman or The Theory of Everything. Have you all seen either? Do tell.


My Valentine Mood
:

André Lanskoy is my new favorite artist. Why have I never seen his work before? If only I could afford to buy one of his prints. The one above is from 1959, I can’t get enough of it.

Chocolate Velvet Beet Cupcakes- seems about right for V day. I might need to make these.

Pink Fiats always make me smile.

Paul and Linda do too. Their expressions are kind of hilarious here.

Plum and Brandy Gelato- yeah, alright, twist my arm.

And Sangria Granita Snow Cones- yes please.


What I’m Drinking:

Rosé Sparkling- was there any doubt? It’s pink, it’s fizzy, enough said. I don’t know, I drink this stuff year round but this saccharine sweet holiday is yet another good reason to pop this pink bubbly’s cork, like we really need one. A few go to’s:

Domaine Jousset “rosé a lies” NV- the great Gamay grape that is way too underrated gets its juicy spritz on in this refined and racy (loads of food-friendly acid) bottle. Always a winner. $21

Domaine Regnier David Cremant de Loire NV- Cremant is a thin-in-the-wallet Champagne lover’s best friend. Made in the traditional method that Champagne uses to produce its wondrous bubbles, you get the same technique from a different part of the world, still imparting those brioche-y, creamy notes but at half (or less than half ) the price. This one’s quite beautiful and finessed with hints of toasted almond, brioche and ripe red fruit, made from the super food friendly and acidic grape, Cabernet Franc. Yum and yum. $23

Graham Beck Brut Rosé Sparkling- a happy little sparkler from South Africa with notes of red cherries, raspberries, wild lavender, and an earthy minerality to boot. $15

Billecart Salmon Brut Rosé NV- Billy Rose, if you want to be a baller. $75

What to Pair With your Pink Bubbly: Chocolate Velvet Beet Cupcakes, of course- duh. Or almost anything really, provided it’s not stick-to-your-ribs meat and potatoes.


In Other News: 

Have you seen this? A documentary about a lost documentary made by Alfred Hitchcock and Sidney Bernstein about German concentration camps in 1945. I stumbled upon it as it is currently playing on HBO, very good.

“The chalky anthropology of candy hearts.”- an interesting little bit of sweet tooth history.

The World’s Most Romantic Hotels- have you been to any of these? Fogo Island Inn- you just went on my list. You too, Hotel Les Roches Rouges.

Kiss-proof lipstick. Is there really such a thing- 9 long-lasting lipsticks put to the test.

How to make a heart-shaped pizza. Be careful with this one. In college, my friend Kristen received one as a Valentine from an admirer which pretty much sealed the deal, but not in the way you might think. Because of that heart-shaped pizza, she decided that that first date would never happen. Know your audience.

My pal Tracy Lynn Olivera is a badass and a fantastic talent. She has a CD. You should buy it because it’s awesome.

Inside the stylish homes of 11 comedians.

The top 5 places to cry in NYC. I’ve done my fair share of late night crying at the local Greek diner circa the late 90s. I might also add the Rose Planetarium and any corner on a rainy day where you might get a tidal wave-sized taxi splash- you’re good to just start crying right there on the spot and it’s perfectly acceptable, just as long as you don’t cry for too long- gotta get back on your game and hail your ass a cab.

Shirley Manson (where have you been Shirley!) steps in and pens an open letter to Kanye.

Speaking of Kanye (and who isn’t- I guess his inappropriate behavior really is working on his ego-boosting behalf), this is hilarious- the hidden texts between Kanye and Beck post-Grammys.

The best and worst first date spots in NYC.

My talented cousin just launched her jewelry collection and it is fabulous. Inspired by her time as an expat in Amsterdam, her pieces are beautiful- this Gwen necklace is calling my name. Use the code EClaunch10 through February 15th.

Staying in on Valentines? Make Duck a Deux if you dare (duck is hard, right!)- a lovely Valentines dinner for two.

If duck’s not your thing (or like me, you’ve just messed it up too many times), look to Julia for inspiration. I always think of Julia Child and her husband Paul on Valentines because they loved celebrating the holiday together and with friends. I had the big idea to throw and Julia and Paul dinner party this Valentines Day, but we just had a Top Chef Challenge birthday party for C and I thought that we were probably good for the month of February. Maybe next month. Anyway- here is a Julia-inspired Quick Coq au Vin Blanc c/o Martha.

I know I’m real late to this party, but I am finally reading Unbroken and wow- it is unbelievable what one human being is capable of enduring while holding strong to one’s will to live. “Inspiring” does not even begin to describe this story.

This should be entertaining- “Who wore it best” on the NYC private school playgrounds?

And can someone please explain to me why The Vermont Teddy Bear Company would put out a 50 Shades of Grey Teddy Bear? What is happening? This has got to be the creepiest teddy bear ever.

Cin Cin all and Happy Valentines Day!

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On Location: Roxanne

roxanne

It’s probably been over 25 years since I’ve seen Steve Martin’s Roxanne, I don’t think I’ve seen it since it was first released. I remember seeing it with my parents and little brother at our local AMC, we went to the movies together as a family a lot which I always loved. More recently, I caught this clever comedy on a snowy day last week during my kiddos’ naptime, it was playing on the Retro channel or something, I’m really dating myself here- just all around. A genius idea to rework Cyrano de Bergerac, Martin’s modern day Rostandian characters are living full out in 1987 and as a creature of nostalgia, it really makes me smile. It’s also pretty great. Daryl Hannah has never been better, the script is terrific, tight, funny, and makes me wish Steve Martin would write more adaptations. “I’m afraid of worms, Roxanne, WORMS…”- anyone?

Shot in the small ski town of Nelson, B.C., watching this movie really kicks up my quixotic tendencies. I have this thing about small towns. I probably need to wind up in one at some point. Maybe it’s because I’ve never lived in one but they always make me swoon, those darling little Main Streets, the Cheers effect-what with everyone knowing your name and such, the volunteer fire departments, the community bingo- I’m in for it, all of it. On the reality side of my brain (appropriately nicknamed Sancho), I know these darling small towns cannot possibly be so perfectly picturesque and quaint and are sure to be riddled with the same problems that my big cities boast, but a gal can dream. Quiet down Sancho, I’m waxing poetic here.

The forest green pines that fill the screen and serve as Roxane’s nature-made backdrop are so beautiful, I feel like I can almost smell the fresh mountain air- or maybe it’s just Steve Martin’s giant nostrils in the movie that are igniting my olfactories to an inanimate image. Oh Steve Martin, why are you so awesome? The Insults to a Nose scene at the local bar- genius. I always wish I had that kind of a comeback.

In case you’re like me and you’re pining (no pun intended) for a small mountain town escape, here are a few to chew on. Bend, Oregon- I’m looking at you.

But back to this inspiration. Imagining myself in this quaint little mountain town in the midst of this old love story turned anew (well 80′s anew anyway), we go on location, here’s what we may look like in pretty Nelson:

On location- Roxanne

Crossbody Leather Bag- just like the one Daryl effortlessly sports throughout town. Not dated, just cool.

Boyfriend Jeans- just like in the 80s without those awful pleats.

Rib-Collar Cardigan- Daryl wears it around town and in her house, wear this little number year-round and it goes with everything.

Couple Hiking in an Alpine Meadow atop Whistler Mountian, B.C.- by Chris Cheadle at Getty Images- it’s nice to look at and a little retro too, goes quite nicely with our theme.

Red Plaid Rancher Cap- remember when Chris shows up on Roxanne’s porch wearing this hat while C.D. feeds him his lines through a wire? I  had to include it, plus it’s cute.

All Weather Booties- stylish and warm to boot because we’re not trying to wear platform heels in our dreamy mountain town.

If you haven’t seen this movie in a while (or ever), do yourself a favor and give it a watch. I think it might make you happy too.

P.S.: Do you remember Damon Wayans and a tanned Fred Willard being in this movie? I love the 80s.

Here’s the original trailer.

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A #word about social media

a word about social media

Ahhhh- this picture makes me kind of crazy. I realize that this is our reality but shouldn’t these preteens be building a fort or putting on a play together or something? I’m sure they’re all highly intelligent, well-adjusted individuals, but I can’t help but cringe at the state of our techno world these days. It’s something I need to come to terms with.

Lately I’ve had not one, not two, not even 3 but 5 conversations with various groups of friends about the merits and downfalls of social media. This is something we are all constantly talking about- like it or not, social media is now forever entrenched in our society. So how do we feel about it, we meaning those that did not grow up with it. I’m even talking to you, older-aged Millennials.

For some, it is our worst nightmare- middle school revisited, the popular crowd reigning supreme on facebook touting photos of their gorgeous children and trim bodies, in a constant state of painting the town red. Can they really be having that much fun, all the damn time? A friend alluded to this phenomenon as said fun-having people using social media to post the “highlights of their days” and actually I think that’s a great way to look at it, it makes sense and also- why not? Another friend has stopped using facebook entirely after attending a work seminar where a speaker described the feelings of inadequacy that some feel when perusing their Facebook feeds as an exercise in “comparing your inner self to others’ best outer selves”. That’s a good way to look at it too. For those that are tortured still by all the fun-having people, why pay attention to it at all? Because it undoubtedly is an excellent way to connect to family and friends old and new and stay connected, as shallow or as deep as those connections may be.

I have made new friends through social media that have bloomed into flesh and blood friends and am grateful for that, and have also connected to “friends” that I wasn’t formely connected to in flesh and blood life, people that were merely acquaintances and that I didn’t think I had much in common with. The digital world has given me a chance to see, witness and follow an entirely different side of said former acquaintances turned now pseudo friends. What’s that worth? Something, I think.?

For the skeptics, it’s all smoke and mirrors and ain’t nobody got time for any of that. What’s the point in following someone when they’re only posting the highlights of their day, but then again what’s the point in following someone’s low points? I don’t see that as necessarily inspiring or productive on a regular basis, though it is nice and even comforting to see a popular shelter maven’s dirty dishes time and again.

For some parents, we worry that the popularity contest is now tougher for our kids as their popularity and “likes” are out there for all to see. Their “likeability” is officially quantified now, there’s no hiding or denying one’s popularity or lack thereof- according to social media’s calculations anyway. Ugh. It makes me worried for my kids, I can’t help it. I know they will have to endure the wrath of society and in some ways already are, but this feels much harsher, or maybe it makes things easier? I don’t know, I’m thinking I need to find the positive and go with that.

For others, it’s a great way to check in with the news and pop culture’s reactions and subsequent rebuttals to the news. Here’s one old school New York Times-paper-edition-reading-mom opening up to the idea of her kids getting their news via Facebook. Hey, if it gets them reading about the news in some form, then that is something, isn’t it. It’s just the weeding out of all the crap, or maybe to some it’s all crap or the reverse.

It’s a hell of a lot of information and can be a great big time suck. For us working moms out there, the work/life balance is hard enough. Throwing the temptations of social media into the mix can make for a big wrench thrown smack into my day. But it’s kind of on me, right? Resist the temptation to feed my brain with more information be it friends’ updates or breaking news, or the latest blog post from the newest cookbook author and I’ve just climbed out from the rabbit hole I was about to submerge myself in buying myself some more time to be present with my kids or get some real life shit done.

On the flip side, I find that in some instances my creativity is encouraged by social media, most specifically via Instagram and Pinterest (Pinterest? you say, that’s such fluff). Yes, Pinterest. Though it is like a giant scroll of cotton candy and rainbows for us food, style and shelter-loving individuals, it does stir my noggin about crafty and culinary ideas (I’ve got a stack of recipes this high and images for dinners party table settings coming out the wazoo), and enabled me to speak clearly through detailed visuals to my contractor when we renovated our house. I had an image for every question he asked, that was pretty handy. On the crafty for kids’ sake side, I have never considered myself a “crafty” person per se, and social media certainly goes a long way toward making those of us that are craftily challenged feel inadequate, but on the positive side, I have really appreciated and found useful all of the helpful ideas these crazy crafty moms pass along via their blogs and Pinterest. My current favorite being Jean V’Ant Hul, of the successful art with kids blog, The Artful Parent. She seems to be pretty successful at practicing the art of both creativity and simplicity and I really love her ideas. My best gal, Amy turned me on to her as she is constantly Pinning Jean’s ideas all the way from Hong Kong, another awesome benefit of social media. Amy and I are able to communicate and share our ideas without having to pick up the phone, email or text. Are we having the long laughter-filled phone calls that I wish we were having- nope. But with a 12 hour time difference, I’ll take what I can get and in the meantime keep sending her Pins I think she and her girls will enjoy and in turn see what she’s up to via her latest crafty kiddos boards.

Instagram can really push my creative button as well. Look, I’m no photographer and I know that to be sure. I come from the old school school of hard knocks where to be good at anything, you must have devoted a generous and literal amount of blood, sweat and tears to that endeavor, or else you’re just faking your way through it. So… I’m faking my way through Instagram, but admittedly having a good time doing so. Sure I’d love to learn how to really take a great photograph with a grown-up camera and maybe someday I will, but for now I’m having fun experimenting and my feed is constantly flooded with real photographers’ work like my friends Amy Dickerson and Rashmi Pappu‘s Instas, to fill me with plenty of daily inspiration.

All this to say, at the end of the day as much as I’d like to say that I wish my kids (and myself) were living in a world closer to the one I grew up in- one with less choices, less information and a more simplified way of life, I don’t suspect that at the heart of the matter, I actually feel that way. That sort of comment sounds unnervingly like saying one pines for the early 60′s- a simpler time- and one look at and episode of Mad Men reveals that that swoony nostalgia isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Hello Vietnam, racism and sexism galore. Still, I am a creature of nostalgia, I’d rather watch Rear Window over The Hunger Games any night of the week, and absolutely shutter when my dance students nonchalantly admit with a tilt of the head and a shrug of their shoulders that nope, they have never heard of Frank Sinatra (please someone save them!) or Billy Joel for God’s sake. But I guess with all of this information, you really have to pick and choose what you’re paying attention to. My kiddos will not go through life without an extensive knowledge of Sinatra or the Rat Pack to be sure, but that’s kind of on me and I’m ok with that.

I try to be hands free while I spend time with my kids, it is a challenge in this flush of information age and I am not always completely successful, but it is my way of attempting to balance all of this out. I have friends who deactivate their Facebook accounts at different points throughout the year. Seems smart- like a detox of sorts. We could all go in for that from time to time, I think as I hear myself say outloud when I forget my phone at home, “What did we do before cell phones?”. What a ridiculous thing to say but this is the age we are living in. Get on board d’Amboise.

So what’s the point of all of this?  I don’t really know, it’s an ongoing discussion. My mom always promotes moderation but I cling to Julia Child’s quote, “moderation with everything including moderation”. That seems about right. Thoughts? I’d love to hear from you.

Image: Getty

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Six Groovy Things
  
4 comments | Tags: Pop

8 Groovy Things

8 Groovy Things

Just a few things that are floatin’ my boat these days:

1. An outdoor canvas painting free for all. Maybe the cold weather is making me love this but it does looks so fun, doesn’t it?

2. Julia’s always on my groovy list, her preserved Cambridge kitchen at the Smithsonian’s American History Museum is one of my official Happy Places. This article from The New Yorker archives, passed along by my friend Rashmi (follow her Insta- so fun and inspiring), made me smile. Have you read “My Life in France“? -one of my favorites.  I vow to get to Le Pitchoune one of these days for cooking classes in Julia’s Provencal home.

3. My new favorite bauble. I can’t justify the splurge but I’d like to. The designer, Moorea Seal, designed ye olde blog as well, with yours truly. I’m a fan.

4. A Loch Ness Ladle. Just because. (not available until Feb. but you bet I’ll have that little Nessie swimming in my soup pot)

5. A Cheese shirt. Because it’s awesome.

6. An oversized wool blend stripey car coat. Just like a Pendleton only minus the primary colors and pricey price tag.

7. Ahh yes, the Nike Pre Montreal. Why are you not in my closet?

8. Stowe, Vt.  Maybe because the VonTrapp Family has their own lodge there or White Christmas was inspired by the pretty Vermont town and I’m always a sucker for Rosemary Clooney and that silly ass song, “Snow”- I don’t know, I just want to go.

What’s on your groovy list?

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Westward Ho

 

Sonoma Coast

In the words of L.L. Cool J, “I’m going back to Cali”- even if it is just for 48 hours. I have been California dreaming for, well… forever really. I’ve always fancied myself a California girl, though I’m really much more of an East Coast gal, the Golden State has my heart. In my early twenties, I lived in LaLa Land for a few winsome years and always find myself harkening back to those glory days of unbelievable scenic and inspiring spontaneous road trips peppered with great food, wine and that only-in-Cali laid-back lifestyle. Of course, my regular day to day was not so swoonful, as it most always involved me feeling like I might as well be in an armored suit at my driving wheel as I fought the ongoing battle of LA traffic for what felt like (and I think was in fact) hours at a time, traversing over canyons, trying to make the left turn light and sitting still on freeways for eons. I mean let’s be real. But oh California- despite your cluttered congestion, how I miss you so. I wish you weren’t so far away but as I write from my window seat on one of Sir Richard Branson’s airliners peeking at the rugged mountains subtly forming and growing taller and taller with each passing minute, California-here I come, right back where I (sort of) started from.

I’m venturing out west not just for fun (though it undoubtedly will involve lots of that), but for an exciting story that I am working on with my talented photographer friend, Amy Dickerson. It involves vino as you might guess, and is shaping up to be an adventurous , colorful and action-packed weekend. We are due to hit the heart of Sonoma Valley at the peak of the crush, I cannot wait to see, smell and taste those grapes. I am looking forward to sharing the details once we have sussed them all out. I am also chomping at the bit to get me a piece of that California coastline and because of the harvest (despite the recent earthquake), we couldn’t actually find any lodging remotely affordable, or really even at all in wine country proper so much to my delight, we will be bunking in Bodega Bay. I have always wanted to visit, mostly because I am a sucker for a seaside town and fancy myself a bit like Jessica Fletcher in that way- looking for my own Cabot Cove to call home. Throw in the fun fact that Bodega Bay plays backdrop to Hitchcock’s “The Birds” and well- it’s a done deal. On the way up from San Fran, we’ll be making lots of pit stops tasting and slurping our way up the coast. Cowgirl Creamery’s original Pt. Reyes outpost, The Tomales Bay Oyster Co. and Hog Island Oyster Co. have been calling my name for years and I have yet to patronize. Today is the day my friends, I’m pretty psyched. If I’m lucky enough to spot a sea otter, it might just put me over the edge.

What are you all up to this weekend? The fall festivals are starting to ignite all over the place which makes me and my little ones so happy, what’s shaking in your part of the woods? Cheers to a Happy Weekend!

A Few Fun Things from around the interwebs: 

“It’s decorative gourd season, motherf#*$ers”- this is hilarious.

In honor of the Scots, almost-secession aside., these look pretty great.

What is going on with #bringbackourgirls?

I have been searching high and low for a groovy fall doormat, nothing too gimmicky but just something fun. Wow- what a shortage. I should go in to the doormat business. I did find this one boasting my favorite fall flower in a big print- score.

This is a terrific kickstarter campaign to end the months of isolation that kids with cancer face and bring them back into a world they can share with other children.

I’m loving this new print studio for photo albums. Easy to print from your phone and pretty to look at.

This crunchy kale, fontina, butternut squash, pomegranate seed-topped pizza looks ridiculous. I’m making this pronto.

Once a Yankees fan, always a Yankees fan. Combine Sinatra with Jeter and you get near perfection. This is a pretty great sendoff.

My new favorite roast chicken recipe. It’s from Thomas Keller and it’s easy? Sold. Thanks Rashmi!

I’m tempted to paint this on my laundry room wall. Thanks Am!

15 Career Tips from Smart Women.

A fun little craft project for the kiddos.

And one for both the kiddos and the adults- so pretty!

Cin Cin ya’ll!

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The Power of Pure Joy

Robin Williams

Rehearsal for the 2000 Academy Awards with the great Robin Williams and my pal Dani Parish Rubin

As the news of Robin Williams’ devastating passing continues to flood our social media feeds and international news outlets, I can’t help but think it seems silly to post a popsicle recipe when all I really want to do is be sad and think on this.

Hands down, one of the best, most joyous and gleeful days of my life was the day I spent in rehearsal with him for the 2000 Academy Awards. That look on my face above- I pretty much looked like for the duration of the rehearsal. He had a way, and I’ve never seen anything like it. I was absolutely awestruck and filled with childlike amazement. Only a spirited, wise, and enigmatic soul like his could take us (the entire cast and crew working on the “Blame Canada” production number) from a rehearsed kickline directly into an impromptu evangelical sermon that literally had us on our knees yelling Amen at the top of our lungs only to find ourselves following along in a Conga line around the rehearsal studio. I smiled continuously for so long that my cheeks literally stung with pain. But I didn’t care- it was one of the most wonderful moments I have experienced- all and entirely induced by the infectious power of his beautiful and joyous soul. A true treasure, we will never know a spirit quite like his, he is and was a thing to behold. I love the words that Jason Alexander wrote, “Ah Robin, I’m so sorry the earth couldn’t stay worthy of you. Hope happiness awaits you.” 

The way in which he left us will forever be sad and confusing to many. It is a subject close to my heart as I lost a dear friend the same way. Depression is such a messy and tragic disease as it so often leaves us with loose ends while taking our loved ones away- not just from us but from the world. Their gifts, their joy can no longer exist but for in our memories, hearts, photos, videos and of course in celluloid (thank God for that) in Robin Williams’ case. But for the world to be deprived of these souls here that produce so much life force, exuberance, love and laughter- that is the true loss. That and that precious life- gone. It’s hard to wrap your head around. Especially hard when faced with the facts that these souls have “chosen” to take their own lives.

I use “chosen” in quotes here because while I’m no psychiatrist, I don’t think it’s quite as easy as that. For those that commit that final act, I believe it’s not that it’s a choice as much as it’s a necessity. I am thankful that I have never suffered from severe depression so I cannot begin to truly understand or empathize with those that do but I have had first hand experiences with people in my life that I love dearly having taken their own lives and have spent much of my life reading about and trying to understand this disease.

It leaves one rudderless, confused and heartbroken. But ultimately, it’s not about us and anyone with a brain knows that suicide is not a selfish act. Depression is a disease like cancer or Alzheimer’s. I liken it more to alcoholism though which is also a disease but is rarely treated as such. Sure there is a “choice” made here when those die of alcoholism or suicide but it’s not so cut and dry. Brain chemistry and emotion can be a tricky combo. When the elements align themselves just so, it can be a recipe for tragedy but I don’t believe it’s ever selfish. It’s just not that simple.

I don’t mean to harp on this matter, but it is something that deeply bothers me when people comment that “suicide is cowardly” or they “can’t understand how anyone could do that”, etc. That’s just it. We CAN’T understand it because we are not at this moment in our lives severely depressed and battling emotions and brain chemistry that are not on our life’s side.

So what now? Awareness. Awareness and appreciation and memory of our dear ones. Let their big and beautiful spirits help us dictate the way we walk through life and let’s put our efforts towards not losing another to this awful disease. I’ll never live down that I was not there for my dear friend who took his life, that I wasn’t more involved and more in the know. We didn’t live in the same state and had busy lives sure, but isn’t that always the case? Everybody’s busy. I wasn’t paying close enough attention. Were there warning signs? I don’t know. Maybe. I won’t ever know but his death taught me to take depression seriously and to pay close attention to those we love and that whether we fully understand it or not is really besides the point.

Live and let live and in Robin William’s case, we now live and let die- peacefully, beautifully and with endless inspiration. He filled our worlds with hope, love and laughter, taught us to seize the day, pay attention to the world and care with an acute sensibility. The power of his joy and light is an incredible gift. Let us be worthy and do the same.

Rest in Peace great soul.

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Happy Weekend!

 

Dad and I

Happy long weekend dear readers. It’s my Dad’s birthday today. He would have been 72. There we are above circa 1976 in that amazing wood paneled den. Love you Dad, you will always be the coolest. Miss you and your generosity, humor, big love, wisdom and sense of adventure every day.

I hope you are all off to some fun and adventure in the spirit of this holiday weekend. We’re hanging around these parts trying to gussy up this joint. It is taking for-evah. I failed to properly estimate the time it would take me to fully unpack and semi-organzie with 2 toddlers in tow. It’ll get done one of these days… or not. In the meantime, we continue to navigate through our basement and garage like we are the All-Stars of the last season of Hoarders. We’ll throw in a bbq somewhere this weekend amidst the constant disarray. That’s sort of what life is though isn’t it. Throwing in the fun stuff amidst the chaos- something like that.

What I’m Drinking:

Le P’tit Rouqin from Olivier Lemasson. This fantastic gamay is brought to me by Ian Cauble’s new venture, Somm Select. From one of my favorite importers, Louis/Dressner, comes this terrifically acidic and food friendly but still fruitalicious Loire gamay. Strawberries, lots of flinty and clay minerality and a hint of tobacco and spice pepper this beauty. A light-to-medium bodied red that is so so good. Check out your local wine shop for Louis/Dressner imports as this bottle has already peaced-out from Somm Select and can be a bit elusive. It’s only about $20- a steal, as much of the Loire Valley can be.

A Few Things:

This cool new wine business (as mentioned above). A Master Somm’s picks straight from his palate to your front door. Well, something like that anyway. I’m a fan. I was cheering for Mr. Cauble in the recent smart vino doc, Somm and think this is a bright new venture for the now lettered MS. He’s got a beautiful Bandol up at the moment.

3 Great Foodie Memoirs- I can never get enough of these things (if I ever have time to read that is, which is never- so strike that whole comment but these do look interesting).

This fun little feature on my girl Jessica Pariseau. I just saw her in Cabaret and she is on fire kids. Go girl- one of my favorite people.

Katie Parla’s Proust-inspired Questionnaire- the subject: food writer Alec Lobrano. I’m always in the mood for a Prousty questionnaire especially when it involves food and musings upon it.

Who needs a bar cart anyway? Not me with these little ones running around, that’s for sure. This looks pretty good.

How NYC’s neighborhoods got their names. Hmm.

This terrific article written by my good pal, John Carroll. He never disappoints- one of the funniest and sharpest dudes I know.

For bougie bohemians, Mara Hoffman launches her first home collection at Anthropologie. Eyeballs and feathers and arrows, oh my. This is a little too blogtastic for me, but I do like a random eyeball here and again.

Holy Smoky Flavors- 10 Brilliant Grilling Secrets from the latest of issue of Food & Wine. A newbie convert to the wonders of the grill- I can’t believe what I’ve been missing- I was thrilled to get this latest issue in the mail as it is pretty much entirely devoted to the good sport of grilling.

A behind-the-scenes look at book cover design from the bookish folks at Chronicle.

Funny. I especially like June Squibb and Gary Oldham’s reactions.

Cin Cin ya’ll and Enjoy.

 

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Six Groovy Things

Just some stuff I’m liking…

Like Narwhals. Yep- let’s start with those.

6 Groovy Things

1. Narwhals- because they’re ridiculously awesome. No wonder the hipsters have claimed the Narwhal as their un-official mascot. Has anybody noticed the sudden influx of their likeness, I don’t know… everywhere? The unicorns of the sea are donning the likes of bloggy branding and Pinterest-approved marks everywhere. Please hipsters- don’t overexpose the dear Narwhal- she is a true creature of creatures, I mean how cool looking are these things. I’d like to see one in the wild one day. For now, I just check in with the WWF’s Narwhal Satellite Tracking Map. They do face manmade dangers like oil leaks, climate change and above all- noise pollution, a problem that I had no idea was such a harmful thing to sealife until recently. Check out how you can make a difference here.

2. These wabi-sabi oak cutting boards made by a dude in New York’s Hudson River Valley, namely one John Corcoran- because they’re imperfectly perfect and because he also bakes cakes, keeps bees and makes maple syrup- a modern day Renaissance man.

3. This Chenin Blanc from Xavier Weiskoppf of the Loire Valley- because it is a true treasure to behold. Funky enough to satiate a wine geek’s love of naturally made Chenin and chalky and citrusy enough to please anyone’s palate. A terrific food wine and lots of interesting things going on in this glass. (shameless plug: currently found at Waterfront Market)

4. This gold and leggy lucite table- because why not be stylish when dining TV-side? Not that I’m a big proponent of TV dinners, but let’s face it, sometimes you do have to multitask. And also, if you’re anything like me and you’re home alone with the kiddos in bed, sometimes you just want to saddle up to some good old-fashioned TCM with your piping hot bowl of carbalicious pasta- am I right? Not your momma’s tray table. Or maybe it is, if your momma was hip and could be found with a tv tray in the early 70s- Gen X’ers, I’m talkin’ to you.

5. This 1967 navy blue Volvo station wagon- because, well, because I want one. Practical, mmmm… probably not. But she’s a looker- she’s both awkward and gorgeous at the same time- my kind of gal. I’d love to cart my little brood around in this baby.

6. The current Andrew Wyeth exhibit at The National Gallery of Art- because it truly is a thing of beauty, words don’t much do it justice. If you’re in the area, just go see it. And let me know what you think.

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